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2018-8-1: Press Release – 2018 Conference Keynote Speaker Announced

International expert to build local knowledge about agrichemical exposure on our farming families

The National Centre for Farmer Health is excited to announce internationally renowned Occupational and Environmental Health specialist Associate Professor Diane Rohlman as a keynote speaker at their Conference in September.

As one of the world’s most hazardous industries, there are many risks associated with working in agriculture, including the risk of injury and exposure to agrichemicals. Pesticides, particularly organophosphorus pesticides (OPs), are widely used throughout the world. However, research examining the effects of exposure to these agrichemicals has tended to focus on acute effects in adults. There has been limited research looking at the impact of repeated, low-level exposure to agrichemicals, particularly in children and adolescents. Dr Rohlman describes her research as “examining the impact of low-level occupational exposure to organophosphorus pesticides in adult and adolescent farmworkers”.

Associate Prof. Rohlman’s research has also extended to examine environmental pesticide exposure among children living in agricultural communities. Since many chemicals, particularly OPs, can attack the brain and nervous system, her research has focused on early detection of changes in memory, attention and learning.

Dr Susan Brumby—Director of the National Centre for Farmer Health—is excited by the prospect of Dr Rohlman’s involvement in the NCFH Conference, with the theme ‘Good health, wellbeing and safety: Making a difference to farmers’ lives’: “Dr Rohlman has been conducting very topical research that will be of significant interest to both health professionals and farmers across Australia. We’re thrilled to host this expert from The University of Iowa, where they have the only Agricultural Safety and Health program in the United States. It was this cutting-edge training program that inspired the development of our own Graduate Certificate in Agricultural Health and Medicine.”

Dr Rohlman will be presenting at the National Centre for Farmer Health Conference on Wednesday 12 September in Hamilton, Victoria. Farmers, health professionals, researchers and others working in areas with links to agriculture and health are encouraged to attend the Conference. Registration to attend the conference is free and can be made online via the Farmer Health website: https://www.farmerhealth.org.au/conferences/conference-2018. Registrations close on Friday 17 August.

Media contact: Images relevant to this article are available on request from the National Centre for Farmer Health via Cecilia Fitzgerald (03) 5551 8533 or cecilia.fitzgerald@wdhs.net

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